Capital city on Daugava River / THU 4-26-12 / Oto neighbors / Hebdomodally / Doggie old cartoon pooch / 1970 Hugo Award-winning novel by Larry Niven / Indian sauce with coriander cumin / Group making billion-dollar loans /

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Constructor: Julian Lim

Relative difficulty: Challenging

THEME: "IT'S / A SMALL [WORLD] AFTER ALL" (1A: With 40-Across, a chorus line ... or a hint to this puzzle's theme) — a [WORLD] rebus, with 5 [WORLD] squares

Word of the Day: "RING[WORLD]" (50D: 1970 Hugo Award-winning novel by Larry Niven) —
Ringworld is a 1970 science fiction novel by Larry Niven, set in his Known Space universe and considered a classic of science fiction literature. It is followed by three sequels, and preceded by four prequels, and ties into numerous other books set in Known Space. Ringworld won the Hugo Award in 1970,[1] as well as both the Nebula Award and Locus Award in 1971. (wikipedia)
• • •

Over the past six weeks, my Tuesdays are a minute slower than Mondays, Wednesdays a minute slower than Tuesdays, Thursdays *three minutes* slower than Wednesdays, and Fridays just 13 seconds slower than Thursdays, and Saturdays just six seconds slower than Fridays. This means that there is hardly any difference between my average Thursday and Saturday solving times of late: 19 seconds. Zero difficulty gradation. I don't think I like this. And yet, I do like challenging puzzles. It just seems like Saturdays should be appreciably harder than Thursdays, and they just haven't been, of late. Today, I had a rebus in a grid that didn't look like a rebus grid (i.e. it has a bunch of longish Acrosses that looked like typical theme answers). There was the initial difficulty of turning up the theme, and then the added difficulty of Fri/Sat-style cluing, all over the place. By far the toughest parts were the NE and SW. I say this having taken my first stab at the NE w/o knowing the theme. After I figured that out, that corner got easier. But I knew the theme when solving the SW, and it didn't help as much as it should have. Or, that is, it did, eventually. Who knows where the damned [WORLD]s are gonna be? I had to remind myself of the theme in order to pick up (finally) OLD [WORLD]. Never heard of "RING[WORLD]". Did not know THIRD had anything to do with yellow ribbons (49D: Place for a yellow ribbon), which I associate with oak trees.

I think the revealer is a winner. Otherwise, it's just a rebus, like any other. Well, better/tougher, in that the [WORLD]s are not symmetrical, but there was an utter haphazardness about the [WORLD] placement here that was actually a little annoying. Three of the five long Acrosses have them, but their symmetrical counterparts don't. The fill is pretty strained in many places. I would've gutted the whole grid from NROTC (29A: Campus org. for ensigns-in-training) all the way east (theme matter excepted). That Down sequence of CRT / RAITA (37D: Indian sauce with coriander and cumin) / OL' MAN / PLEUT is particularly unlovely. One or two of those answers, fine; jammed together like that, suffocating. ROOT CROP made me wince (35A: Turnips, e.g.), as ROOT VEGETABLE is the far more common phrase—but it's validish, so no big problem. But having TOSS DOWN instead of TOSS BACK was a huge letdown. It always sucks when an answer is defensible, OK, but not really the mot (or phrase) juste. It's like soy cheese. Maybe passable, but just ... not right.

UNHINGE is a fantastic word (55A: Drive mad). HAB ... isn't (60D: Old Testament book before Zephaniah: Abbr.).

Theme answers:
Also, "a chorus line" for the revealer? Vague to the point of absurdity. Yes, the line is from the chorus ... of a song. Something a little more specific/vivid would've been nice.

  • 19A: Capital city on the Daugava River (RIGA) — total lucky guess. Four-letter capitals FTW!
  • 27A: Hebdomadally (A WEEK) — kind of an ostentatious clue for not-so-great fill. Still, that is a good (insane) word.
  • 7D: Result of rampant inflation? (POP) — cute
  • 12D: ___ Doggie (old cartoon pooch) (AUGIE) — just not happening today. No idea where this name disappeared to, but I had a lot of trouble getting it back. Deputy Dawg, sure, but AUGIE Doggie was nowhere to be found.

  • 22D: Arizona and Arizona State joined it in '78 (PAC-TEN) — a most welcome gimme.
  • 34D: Plum look-alike (SLOE) — this helped me change TOSS BACK to TOSS DOWN (an answer I had to choke down ... while I choked back tears ... not really, but it's interesting that "back" and "down" can (it seems) follow both "toss" and "choke")

Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld


orangeblossomspecial 6:43 AM  

They're all fun, and this one got easier once the theme became apparent. I had the same problem in the SW that Rex had, particularly after starting with multi-lineal rather than MATRI-lineal.

Paul Robeson had a great version of 38D OLMAN River. Robeson was an early entertainer not afraid to speak out about problem in the US.

The puzzle's theme started as a Disney ride at the NY World's Fair in 1964: ITSASMALLWORLDAFTERALL. See if you can stomach all 11 minutes of the music. Imagine working the ride at Disneyland or Disney World.

Jakarta Dan 6:51 AM  

I didn't love this while I was doing it, but after I finished the puzzle seemed pretty solid in retrospect.

Liked ABBESS, UNHINGE, and PIPESIN (which was a helpful gimme up top.) Not so keen on PLEUT.

Something seemed screwy when World War I didn't fit with the crosses, so was not surprised to figure out it was a rebus when I hit OLD WORLD.

Chorus line clue was a fair misdirection resulting in an "aha."

A good "aha" makes for a good puzzle, so I'm content.

Best from sunny Jakarta, where Yes had a concert this week. I didn't know they still existed. Lady 56D plays here next month. We'll see how the local religious thugs respond to her concert.

Z 6:56 AM  

Getting the theme made a huge difference for me. I'm struggling through with almost nothing in the grid, MEIN/ANEEL, GAGA, the SE (with sLY at 63d) and worldwari are about it, when OLDWorld/RINGWorld pop into view and all of a sudden everything west of the Appalachians fills itself in.

Malapop at 16A where I wanted my sandwich to be an OREO and there it is, a whole package of OREOS at 53D.

I have some of the same criticisms as @RP. Thought ROOT---- and wondered what randomish noun it would be. Thought swigDOWN before getting TOSS DOWN from the crosses. And I have to agree that 1A isn't clever, just vague. I guessed immediately that I was looking for a line from a song and that helped not at all. I do think that there is a little spark and sizzle so the puzzle made a come back, but as the Queen of Mondays said yesterday, 1A sets the tone for the whole solving experience.

Gareth Bain 7:05 AM  

"but here's my feeling about symmetry and rebuses—unnecessary. In fact, unwanted. What fun is a rebus if you aren't going to be surprised by where the squares turn up (for half the grid, anyway)?"

Rex Parker

There's no pleasing you sometimes is there?

Antan Giverve 7:33 AM  

I've never posted before, but my solving experience and pleasure appears counter to Rex's. IMHO a good puzzle draws from many sources, so why complain and expose the lacunae in your educational background? I know little of popular culture, watch less TV, don't go to movies (except the Lizabet Salander ones!!), don't follow sports and I finish the puzzle most days. I do them to stretch my "little grey cells" every morning!

foodie 7:35 AM  

I had a little chuckle when I got the revealer, but it also threw me off. I understood that WORLD would be the rebus but I thought it would always happen AFTER "ALL". Because the "WORLD" in the revealer comes after the "ALL" of SMALL. And the only thing I had so far is the REAL WORLD so I thought may be AL was sufficient. It took me a while to give up on the idea of searching for an ALL right before the World...

When I lived in LA while in grad school, all kinds of family and friends visited and wanted to go to Disneyland. Including my parents. And that ride was a favorite, even when no kids were there to make it seem legit. That tune ran and ran in my head for days after every visit. And today, I won't be able to get rid of it!

r.alphbunker 7:37 AM  

I have a lot of respect for this puzzle. In the staring contest that ensued in SW I was the one who blinked. Twice. Googled for RING[WORLD] and A WHOLE NEW [WORLD] and got a kick out of seeing the two WORLDs show up.

I felt like someone in a computer ad where you see people pointing at the screen and smiling but you don't know what they are smiling about. Now I will think that they discovered a rebus by Googling.

And all the time I've spent learning rock groups did not help today. The compleat cruciverbalist evidently also has to know Disney music!

hobgoblin 7:37 AM  

"Well, better/tougher, in that the [WORLD]s are not symmetrical, but there was an utter haphazardness about the [WORLD] placement here that was actually a little annoying."

Rex Parker

Ruth 7:45 AM  

First place ribbons are blue, second place are red, third place are often yellow.

Glimmerglass 7:45 AM  

Good hard Thursday. I agree with Garth Bain. It's a little petty to insist on symmetry. I thought this was an excellent theme, well executed and revealed. However, some of the cluing was not so much Saturday misdirection as just plain wrong. A king doesn't "cover" his subjects. Rampant (widespread) inflation doesn't mean overinflation. A SCREW doesn't "hold" threads -- it has them. Never heard of a yellow ribbon for third place. At our county fair, third place ribbons are white (blue=first; red= second). I managed with crosses, so I liked the puzzle.

Z 8:19 AM  

@Gareth Bain - I think @hobgoblin is talking to you.

I was just deleting the emails from yesterday and now I wonder if the person I referenced is actually ACME, since the poster was "acme." I'm sure someone will correct me if I erred.

Airymom 8:20 AM  

It happened 28 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. My husband and I went to Disneyworld and he insisted on getting on the "It's a Small World" ride. I had ridden it as a kid at the World's Fair. Halfway through the ride, it stopped. We spent the next 40 minutes stuck in Japan, watching the automatons bowing continuously and listening to the insipid song sung in Japanese about 200 times.

Every time I hear the song, I cringe. I think the song is a bit juvenile and outdated to be a theme for the NY Times.

I did like "unhinge" and "pleut".

Smitty 8:37 AM  

AUGIE DOGGIE and Doggie Daddy brought a smile remembering a friend who used to say that. I liked this puzzle a lot.
The SW took forever since I didn't get that it was the word BEFORE Jumbo, so after MUCHO, MONDO, MULTO, etc. I finally got THIRD and then...aha!

ABBESS was the last word - and I still don't get it.

Smitty 8:39 AM  

PS - ROOT CROP is pretty common I think...?

joho 8:41 AM  

INPAWN was new to me as well as the clue "Hebdomadally"-- what a fun word!

I always like a rebus so I enjoyed this. It did make it more difficult with the worlds being assymetrical, but that didn't bother me.

SW was the hardest corner for me being ignorant of the RING(WORLD), but BERG and a good guess at MATRI solved that problem.

@evil doug, you have a lot of material to work with today!

I liked MUMBO jumbo which is what Hebdomadally was to me before today!

Thank you, Julian Lim!

Anonymous 8:47 AM  

Is UNHINGE really something someone does to someone else? Have you ever said someone UNHINGEd you or that you've UNHINGEd someone?

It's a little Shakespearean, no?

"I UNHINGE thee..."

jberg 8:48 AM  

No love for DEODORANT? My favorite answer (aside from 65A, of course!)

On the other hand, I never saw the rebus at 63D because "Possessing much life experience" was obviously "old"! That's me - old enough that I don't know the names of any acne medicines (68A), so figured 62 down must be mAt and otd-10 was just as goog as anything. So I finished with errors in that corner - and another error because I didn't know the OT book, had ABlESt for 68A, and failed to notice that it didn't work when OREOS changed the t to S. Sigh.

But RAITA? A gimme for me. Goes to show you.

jackj 8:48 AM  

Julian Lim puts one of the two Disneyana items guaranteed to UNHINGE normal adults in this puzzle, IT’S A SMALL (WORLD) AFTER ALL. The other one, (dare I write it), is, of course “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. (Mercy, the things we had to tolerate in the name of good parenting!)

There were no surprises in the theme entries, with the exception of the Larry Niven novel, which came through, rebus and all, after some rather hairy crosses were unearthed, notably MUMBO, BERG and THIRD (what part of the oak tree is that?).

There were some liberties taken by the constructor that made for answers that are awkward, at best, like INPAWN, OILPROOF, ROOTCROP and GEARTO but there were also some memorable bits, “Cover many subjects” for REIGN being the best of the bunch.

Then, there seemed to be a couple of loose ends left in the puzzle and POP is either “awkward” or “memorable” as one chooses and it is arguable as to whether Arizona and Arizona State joined the PAC-TEN or joined the PAC-8, thus making it the PAC-TEN. (Picky, picky, picky, for sure).

Julian is one of the more creative “new” constructors and certainly hasn’t disappointed yet. (You no doubt will remember the excellent puzzle in April of last year themed with EACH ONE WORD CLUE IN THIS PUZZLE IS A HOMOPHONE OF ITS ACTUAL CLUE. That was one of his first offerings).

Thanks for the treat, Julian!

Suzy 8:53 AM  

For once, didn't find this as difficult as Rex did!
Give away was seaworld. Enjoyed it very much!

evil doug 8:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danny 8:55 AM  

My thoughts in regards to rebuses:

If the rebus theme supports the symmetry/makes the symmetry work, the symmetry is valid and enjoyable. For example, I seem to recall a puzzle where DO RE MI FA SOL LA TI DO spanned the diagonal from SW to NE, supported by other long theme material. That's a neat way to place the rebuses.

This puzzle, with WORLD, doesn't necessitate symmetry. It's more fun to figure out where they go, despite the lag it adds to my solving time.

I enjoyed this puzzle.

Evan 8:57 AM  

This may not apply to anyone else in particular, but for me, this was an exercise in one of the most important lessons of Puzzlemaking 101: Build your puzzle before someone else does.

In August 2010, I publicly opined on about the possibility of creating a puzzle like this with the same theme revealer. The only difference was that I had planned to use a few planets as rebus squares instead of WORLD. I had stopped and started maybe three versions of this puzzle in that time, but could never get fully satisfactory results -- too many bad crossings, probably a poor theme answer as well. So I put it down to create other puzzles, but I figured I would try it again later.

Seems Mr. Lim beat me to the punch, and he did a fine job.

The musician Richard Marx, who wrote the 80's hit "Right Here Waiting," once told me: You have to write your music, or someone else will. The same principle applies to crossword construction. So to any young puzzlemakers, I say: Don't wait to build that grid that's been dancing in your head for a while, or you'll watch it get published in the Times before you get the chance!

Happy Thursday, all.

evil doug 8:59 AM  

If the [worlds] were symmetrical, it would have removed half the challenge. Ducks in a barrel. Once the trick is learned, the rest of the thrill is in the hunt. We used to fly formation in regularly timed intervals, until the bad guys in VN started hitting C-130s more easily just by timing their shots. So we went to a more random fluid-trail formation to confuse them. Hence: Random is good.

Tried 'deraNGE' for 'unhiNGE' for a bit. I was getting nowhere with 'trunk' for the yellow ribbon (Tony Orlando---'old oak tree'---and more recently the military connection), and finally 'third' salvaged San Diego County.

I liked 'screw'. Words ending in 'w' are fun to say and look at. I was trying to come up with a 'bobbin'-like Singer term.

Figured out the [world] gouge when nothing else made sense with the w in _wide___.

Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy. My cartoon era. "That's my boy...."

'Oreos' clue was tolerable---seems that that was a mini-contest that Michael had going on his facebook page a few months back: A fresh clue for Oreos. But: It's still Oreos....

Reallllly wanted Dreamcicle for 17A.


Rex Parker 8:59 AM  

If the going narrative becomes "Rex wanted WORLDs to be symmetrical" then I give up.

~Rex Parker

evil doug 9:05 AM  

I accept your surrender. We will turn your (s)words into plowshares.


Gareth Bain 9:10 AM  

I probably should have fleshed this out better... Rex didn't say last time that symmetrical rebus squares shouldn't be allowed, only he would prefer them assymetric. I'm confused as to when assymetric rebus squares become haphazard. I'm also confused that, if the plus of assymetric theme squares is surprise value, then the location of "haphazard" should be more surprising, ergo better? I've almost certainly made a logical fallacy somewhere, of course...

(somedays I can't resist poking the hornets' nest)

Bob Kerfuffle 9:16 AM  

I liked the puzzle a lot.

My one write-over already mentioned by @evil doug, DERANGE before UNHINGE.

@smitty - An ABBESS is the first, or leader, in a religious order.

Loren Muse Smith 9:23 AM  

What a challenge! And, yes, mainly because of the lack of symmetry of the WORLDs. I saw the trick pretty early, though I don’t know how, at WORLD WIDE WEB. Sheer luck. Then I went straight to the NE and dispatched it with no trouble, unlike REX.

The fact that “internet” and “mat” fit for WORLD WIDE WEB and WAX didn’t help. I ultimately DNF (redundant?) thanks to the dastardly SW. Since MATRI is unknown to me, a THIRD place ribbon when I was a swimmer was white, and the cluing for BERG was tough even for a Saturday, I gave up because I have to get to work.

I still cringe remembering standing in line for that ride and listening to the song over and over and over. I’m glad UNHINGE was in the fill. “Cringe,” UNHINGE – there’s a limerick there. . .

Anonymous 9:26 AM  

@Smitty: Well, an ABBESS is the head of an abbey, which consists of nuns who are in an order, so the abbess is first among those nuns. Of course, the abbess is only first in that particular abbey, not necessarily in the entire order, so I guess I don' t get it either.

PS: I'm not sure what he differences are between an abbey, a priory, and a convent, so I am probably using the wrong terminology. But you get the general idea. Sort of.

David 9:29 AM  

@airymom, I had the EXACT same experience at Disney World on the It's a Small Ride World ride. I don't remember the date, but it was in that 28 year range you horrifyingly describe. On the same trip I also got stuck on Pirates of the Caribbean. If completing the puzzle didn't stick that damn song back in my head incessantly, your eerie recollection sure did the trick! :-)

After starting slowly by not being able to tie the correct answer TEA with the incorrect LAD at 3D (for SON), I zipped down to the SE which proved huge, as A WHOLE NEW WORLD was a gimme, and gave me the rebus. Nailing REAL WORLD back up top along with its non-rebus symmetrical counterpart DEODORANT was just as huge, as it showed that those rebus entries would be random (yes, a VERY good thing).

Also really liked the puzzle.

dk 9:40 AM  

@Antan, keep posting Tobias and I need you for moral support.

Like most puzzles it is often the first insight that is correct. You know the one you initially discard and then come back to with a DOH. 10D was my initial and discarded insight for the day. I knew it was SEAWORLD and I knew 23 and 40A yet my gray cells resisted.

The dam broke at 67A.

MATRI linear was my Waterloo as I wanted quasi and could not get passed that until MUMBO appeared out of no where.

In sum, thankfully, a very nice Thursday solve

🌟🌟🌟 (3 Stars) Thank you Mr. Lim

Hi Kate (formerly with 13D)

chefbea 9:46 AM  

What a yummy puzzle!!! So much food and drink!!

When I saw chorus line in 1A. I really thought the puzzle would have something to do with the musical!!

@Rex thanks for the pic of turnips - looks something like another root crop we all know and love.

Levy Phillips & Konigsberg, LLP 9:46 AM  

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Woken up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, the strains of an insipid song running through your head?
Can't function at your job because seeing your coworkers brings to mind images of dwarves mechanically dancing and singing and it scares the crap out of you?

You're not alone, but we can help. We've helped thousands of people just like you get the money you deserve to compensate for the trauma perpetrated upon you by the operators of these theme parks.

Call us at (800) Fake-No# for a free consultation.

wordie 9:52 AM  

I don't get the berg clue, can someone please explain?

ArtO 9:53 AM  

Cluing was, as Rex said, weekend clever/tough. Enjoyed the struggle even though WORLD rebus came somewhat quickly in NE.

Did not like hebdomadally! Ridiculous.

Hands up for Small World as the most cloying, drive you crazy repetitive song parents taking their kids to Disney World had to endure.

joho 9:58 AM  

@wordie, this clue took me forever to get. I think it is referring to the BERG breaking off the bigger shelf of ice.

Tom 10:00 AM  

I liked this puzzle, however...
I am going to have 1A+40A in my head all day now!

AnnieD 10:02 AM  

I liked the puzz for the most part until I became bald at the SW corner and finally had to google for the first time in over a month to get ringworld. Rats!

I had WORLDWARI before first world war before I got the theme.

I agree with some of the odd ball cluing, including why there were no abbreviations in the clue for Inc.

It felt much harder than a thurs for sure. But then again, that's why we do these puzzles!

archaeoprof 10:03 AM  

Like @Evil, I was deraNGEd before I became UNHINGEd.

No puzzles for me this weekend. Daughter getting married in NYC. Gonna walk her down the aisle, offer a toast at the reception, and write a big check.

cheeseguy 10:04 AM  

Challenging, but very good puzzle. Kept thinking it had to be a rebus, but was very slow on the uptake. A lot of difficult, but very good clues made this a fun way to start the morning.

Pete 10:05 AM  

@Wordie - Ice BERGs fall (calve) off ice shelves.

On one level I thought the puzzle fine until I crashed in the SW. I fell in love with DERANGE, even though ANEEL was undeniable, and verfied by OLD[World].

On another level, the puzzle was intolerable, as it placed that stupid ditty in my mind. I didn't suffer the trauma of being stuck in the ride, just that as an 8 year old at The World's Fair I had to listen to it, over and over. It's a great conceit for a rebus, but one always has to be aware of the probable uninitended consequences.

KRMunson 10:09 AM  

My family prohibits me from singing or humming the "It's a Small World" song. I made them go through the ride at Disney World several times when they were young (I liked it!). Now they get almost violent whenever they hear that music. I think it is subliminally anger-provoking in another dimension :-)

BigSteve46 10:20 AM pleure dans mon coeur / Comme il pleut sur la ville.

For some odd reason I remember this from first-year French in high school (50 + years ago!). Hence I refused for the longest time to give up "pleur" for 39 Down. (I conveniently forgot about the last "e" in "pleure.") Combined with a confident "pects" for 52 Down - this was my hang-up until the final, reluctant acceptance of the irrefutable and awful "deodorant" forced me to my knees.

For reasons like the above, this makes this a very fine puzzle in my (not really very humble) opinion. "Challenging" in the best sense of the word!

Mr. Benson 10:23 AM  

I actually found this one 95% super-easy and 5% near-impossible (the whole RAITA/PLEUT section). If ROOTCROP had presented itself in my head a little earlier, I imagine this could have been a Thursday record for me. Which is still probably slower than Rex's time for a "Challenging" puzzle, but hey.

But the rebus presented itself pretty easily to me. I knew 5D would have to be either REAL WORLD or ROAD RULES, so clearly there was a rebus... and when I checked 23A, well, obviously "WORLD WAR" is going to be part of the answer, so I was off and running.

baja 10:25 AM  

liked this one - not so much the song. I was always confused as to the colours of ribbons. Turns out in the USA, the order is blue, red, yellow, white, pink. In Canada the order is red, blue white yellow green.

JaxInL.A. 10:31 AM  

Is it possible that @airymom and @David got stuck on the same ride on the same day? Hmmm......

I really like Julian Lim's puzzles, perhaps because we seem to share a wavelength. This came in among my fastest Thursdays ever (20:36, so fast is nothing like the speed solvers). I got the rebus right away (I'm a sucker for a rebus puzzle), enjoyed the entire solve, and didn't even mind the random French word.

TRYST crossing RENOIR's nudes
MUMBO jumbo near to GAGA

No love yet for CANDY APPLE? Snack on a stick in my neighborhood, though, is roasted corn on the cob slathered with a thick table cream, sprinkled with chili and a cheese like a mild parmesan. I think it's Central American, and we have vendors going up and down the street selling them each day.

Thanks for a delightful solve, Mr. Lim!

JaxInL.A. 10:37 AM  

@archeoprof, congratulations on your daughter's wedding!

Please post a photo when you get back to Rexworld. Hope all goes smoothly.

Tita 10:43 AM  

AUGIE Doggie (and Doggie Daddy) somehow surfaced instantly, though i have not heard or thought about him in [ahem] several eons...
Thx for the clip, and this quote:
"I'll just have to eat a wiggly worn and die"
My love of CANDYAPPLEs is from roughly the same time. No caramel apples for me - gimme that hard candy shell!

@Foodie - exactly, re: 'after ALL'.

SW was a near DNF, till I won the staring match (nice imagery, @r.alph)... OLDW tossed out the hardj I wanted there, and then it finally fell with just a little more struggle.

@Evan - word of wisdom!

Hey @Bob Kerfuffle - where ya been??

@archaeoprof - congrats in advance!
Love all the ride and song stories.

Thanks Mr. Lim for a crunchy Thursday and for inspiring hilarious posts.

jae 10:56 AM  

Med.-tough for me.   It felt like a rebus from the start but it took a while to suss it out.  Quite a few erasures...OsAges, hand up for deraNGE, son for INC..

I liked it but WORDLY seems like the odd answer out.  All the rest involve at least two words.   Plus INPAWN is a stretch. 

If you visit Disneyland DO NOT go on the ride.  If it's too late you have my sympathy.

Rookie 10:58 AM  

Did no one else have Rubens for Renoir?

Also " tailor" for "gear to"?

A French weekly newspaper is an hebdomadaire. Knowing that helped but I kept wanting "weekly" rather than "a week."

miriam b 11:03 AM  

Pop culture, TV and sports references aside, I finished the puzzle before my coffee cooled. I still wonder about HAB and will have to post-Google it.

Thanks to my late Mom for RIGA.

Don't like the looks of the captchas today. This m,ay take >1 attempt.

Anonymous 11:22 AM  

Doggie Daddy, Auggie Doggie misses you...

Bird 11:23 AM  

@foodie - Before I get to today’s puzzle (though it looks more and more like I will not get to work on it until I get home) I would like to comment on your post from 10:26 PM yesterday – did you catch Dr. Tyson’s tie from his latest appearance on Bill Maher’s show? It has an image of a Saturn V rocket. It’s a beautiful tie.

And I hope you know I was only kidding about forgetting to show up – I was playing off of Rex’s great story.

Sparky 11:26 AM  

DNF: stuck in NE. Wanted Spool even tough I had PIPESIN. Caught the rebus with FRISTWWAR. Surprised but not put off by lack of symmetry. Good to be jogged out of assumptions and the whole "rule" notion sometimes.

Thought I was so clever entering HARD__ for 42D. 'fraid not this time. Osasges before OMAHAS; llC before INC. When you rampantly inflate a baloon it goes POP. (Funny, now I can't find the comment about economics that set of my observation.) I am becoming UNHINGED.

We are well over humpday. @archaeprof. Congrats, all the best. And take a picture for us.

Midj 11:34 AM  

I rarely finish puzzles ranked challenging by our fearless leader but finished today. I usually rank up in the 450s timewise but was in the 280s today. Yay! Like many,I had trouble in the SW but my sticking point was _lu_ sandwich. Took several runnings of the alphabet to get that one but that brought World Bank and thence Sea World. Cannot believe Sea World was my last entry as I live less than two hours away here in NCFlorida... Goes to show that even when an answer is in your wheelhouse and should be a given, it doesn't always come to you until you've spent some time on it... Thanks for an excellent puzzle Mister Lim!

John V 11:47 AM  

Hand up for having experienced the torture (yes, that's the word) of hearing this subject tune at DisneyWorld. That aside, liked the theme which came pretty easily. Had a pause with AWHOLENEW[WORLD], as I know nothing of Aladin. Also found the cluing more F/S-like and as noted the fill a bit clunky.

The SW was brutal. Stared forever and could not see MATRI, as was mis-speling ALDRIN -- had very vowel by the i. Go figure.

Hey, @Archeoprof: post the address of your reception, and all Rex-tillians will show up and serenade with 347 choruses of ITS A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL! No. Really. I'm serious. The video rights alone will pay for the entire wedding.

Today's project: use HEBDOMADALLY in a sentence, in public, and avoid being flogged. If you don't hear from me tomorrow, you'll know how that turned out.

Augie Candy Mumbo 12:04 PM  

Loved that they were literally "small worlds" and had fun scribbling in tiny Os into the grid!

Got it at ?WIDEWEB.

My last letter was the G in BERG because i didn't get the clue till I began @rex writeup....
How ironic that this time I was the one who couldn't find his G-Spot!

Suggestion for an embedded video for today:
Tom Petty's "I won't BACK/DOWN"...

@KRMunson 10:09am
I wish this blog could institute a LIKE button! I'd press it for your comment three times! In the meantime I'm stuck with exclamation points!!! That song makes me want to punch someone.

Missed Neil on Jon Stuart last night (gosh, he's busy) but there is a YouTube of him on Conan complaining that Conan's moon on his set is in the wrong position in the sky, wrong fullness, etc...
And he got James Cameron to fix the sky in Titanic maybe he'll weigh in on the nonsymmetry of the worlds in this puzzle and get them realigned!

@Gareth 9:10
I think Steig should publish his posthumous novels:
"The Boy who Played withFire" and "The Boy Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest"
Actually interesting discussion, ii just hope you don't have any puzzles coming out this week!

600 12:07 PM  

I believe it was Norman Mailer who said he did the NYTimes Crossword every morning to "comb his brain." I love that . . . and after this puzzle, I'm pretty sure I'll have a good brain day! I just knew today would be a winner . . . and it was . . . and a rebus! I love rebuses, and I loved solving this hard (but I thought fair) puzzle. As BigSteve46 said, challenging in the best sense of the word!

@John V--LOL. Really!

I don't remember Augie Doggie at all, but the rhyme allowed me to get it off just AU. I liked that. Count me among those who found ROOTCROP completely in the language. I threw it (and PIPESIN) in with no problem. Like @dk, I knew 10A must be SEAWORLD, but I resisted longer than I should have.

I didn't post yesterday, so just want to say I love me some Neil Degrasse Tyson! And yes, I'm too old to talk that way, but the phrasing just seems right. I'm very impressed that ACME actually knows him, and I love the story of how Rex's family, especially daughter, came to meet him. That story actually overwhelmed the puzzle experience for me--in a good way. Wow, wow, wow. Thanks for sharing, Rex.

Mel Ott 12:11 PM  

When my kids were small AUGIE Doggie was part of the Saturday morning soundtrack in our house. Wasn't that the one that used a Jimmy Durante-like voiceover? Perhaps for Daddie Doggie???

I remember when Ariz. & ASU joined the PAC-8 and they changed the name to the PAC-10. Now they don't even bother to change names. Last time I looked the Big Ten had 12 teams and the Big Twelve had 10 teams. And those numbers have probably changed since I last looked.

600 12:14 PM  

@Augie Candy Mumbo--EXACTLY! Ten times I wanted a "Like" button as I read today's comments. But I'll try hard not to steal your exclamation points. Someone recently said they're your domain. I'll respect that.

In case you missed NDTyson last time he was on the Daily Show, he told Jon Stewart that the earth in the beginning logo of the show was spinning in the wrong direction. Now I'm off to watch the Conan moon--I'm sure I can find it on You tube--and last night's Stewart, which I have on DVR. I'm so delighted to know NDTyson was the guest. Thank you!

Here's what's so great about him, aside from his amazing intellect and booming laugh: He makes the most difficult scientific concepts absolutely accessible. What a great teacher.

You KNOW him?!?!? I am so jealous!

Okay. I'm done. Back to the crosswords . . .

chefbea 12:23 PM  

@JohnV count me in for singing at the wedding!!

Tita 12:24 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tita 12:26 PM  

How about "Astronomer's accessory" at 4A today, Dr. Tyson!
So, constructors - who is working on a tribute to him? Don't just make him an answer, make him the theme!

Or, more in keeping with his style, make astronomy the theme, with his name as the revealer...

@600 - to illustrate your point, watch Neil and the 7 year old -enjoy.

wyonative 12:36 PM  

This is the kind of late week puzzle I like. At my first pass through, I entered few letters and doubted I would be able to finish. Patience helped, as did getting the theme at seaworld. I have grown fond of rebuses over the years. I never understand the arguments about symmetry: too advanced a discussion for me, I guess. Thanks to those who explained berg. I now feel a little daft for not getting it myself.

chefbea 12:38 PM  

@Archeoprof..If you'd like..I could do the catering. Just the foods in today's puzzle would make an excellent Bridal feast: Club sandwiches with a side of turnips, served with raita,oreo cookies and candy apples for dessert and of course tea. We can toss down any kind of champaine you'd like.

acme 12:40 PM  

Exclamation points for Everyone!!!!!
(i never even noticed I used them til I was teased here! It's how I hear the thoughts in my head when I write since things/tone/intention get so lost in emails.)

But it would be nice to be able to have a like button on this blog, and an LOL button, and a wildly dislike one!!!

And yes, @z, that was me but I went way over limit yesterday...will try to reign it in today...tho these days this is the only place I'm being published! ;)

Anonymous 12:42 PM  

This was hard enough for me.

Augie Doggie was a gimme. Real World was not, since those viewers no longer live here.

acme 12:44 PM  

Oops, make that "rein" it in...
REIGN, rain go away...
Hey, has that been done?

rjbrunner 12:49 PM  

Upon finishing, I so wished Metta (World) Peace had elbowed his way into this puzzle.

Gareth Bain 12:53 PM  

"And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head." from Terry Pratchett's Maskerade

evil doug 12:55 PM  

[Jerry enters his apartment to see Kramer talking on his phone.]

Kramer: So, I'll uh... all right. (Hangs up)

Jerry: Date with Karen?

Kramer: No, Julie. She's the one.

Jerry: What happened to Karen?

Kramer: Well, Mickey and her have a lot more in common. Did you know her parents are little people?

Jerry: Huh...Small world.


hazel 1:09 PM  

Responding to someone's thoughts/beliefs/ opinions by reducing them to a like/dislike "button" is wrong in so many ways!!!! But then I'm not on Facebook - so maybe just haven't experienced the benefits of such a button.....

That little rant aside, I enjoyed the Tyson discussion from y'day, as I had always enjoyed him as a guest on Colbert/Stewart. His name will stick with me now.

I thought this was a v. Good puzzle even though I lost the stare-down in the SW. Should have gone for a swim and picked it up again.

go Braves!!

Ron Artest 1:11 PM  


LOL at Meta World Peace.

Anonymous 1:33 PM  

I loved today's puzzle. I am the Robin Lady who thought T and Wed not enough of a challenge. This was good and hard and I love the offbeat clues. Makes you think! Isn't that what we're here for? Had pawned for in pawn and spool for screw, but with patience through the many things I did not know it all worked out with nary a Google. Thank you Mr. Lim and Mr. Shortz. Just can't agree with the nitpickers today. I'm feeling smart right now. At my age that's a much-appreciated gift. Merci mucho.

Sarah 2:25 PM  

According to the Hugo website, Ursula LeGuin won the 1970 Hugo for best novel, for "The Left Hand of Darkness," not Niven for RINGWORLD. He won the 1971 Hugo for that; the book came out in 1970 and won the following year. I had to Google it anyway, but it's an unusual level of error for NYT in general and Lim in particular.

Anonymous 2:40 PM  

@Sarah - See item 16a in the FAQ at the top of the blog.

dk 2:41 PM  

@archaeoprof, make the check out to dk as I want to take Andrea to TRYSTWORLD - insert lame self depracating joke about small rides about here.

sanfranman59 3:13 PM  

Midday report of relative difficulty (see my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation of my method):

All solvers (median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Thu 17:53, 18:56, 0.94, 43%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Thu 9:59, 9:19, 1.07, 68%, Medium-Challenging

As is often the case with rebus puzzles, I think today's All Solvers rating will be skewed a bit toward the Easy end of the spectrum. This is because there will probably be fewer than the usual number of solvers posting a time on the puzzle page leaderboard (which I interpret as more than the usual number of DNFs). The assumption here is that the DNFs would have posted relatively high solve times if they'd been able to complete the puzzle, which would have increased the median solve time in the All Solvers group.

mac 3:44 PM  

Uch. Earworm without even hearing the song today!

Medium to tough in a couple of places (looking at you, RinGworld/berG. Then hocked/in pawn instead of in hock/pawned? And NROTC?

Surprised that mumbo jumbo was approved by almost everyone. Another hand up for derange before unhinge. Raita? Mine has coriander and cumin as ingredients 4 and 5, after the yogurt, cucumber and garlic. Great stuff.

Although I totally agree, the rebus should be unexpected and in odd places, I kept staring at "deodorant", trying to figure a way to put "world" in.

I notice I use exclamations marks a lot, too, just after almost every sentence, not multiplied....

Anonymous 3:58 PM  

I don't care for these gimmicky puzzles...I figured that is what it was when I had big blocks of open squares. I just FELT that I would get it...I got asmallworldafetrall and then firstworldwar. Then the lightbulb went on. After thant, it became easy.

sanfranman59 4:01 PM  

Shameless plug (hope you don't mind Rex!) ... If you're in the SF Bay Area, enjoy live choral music and are looking for something to attend this weekend, the chorus in which I sing is performing Handel's gorgeous oratorio Israel in Egypt Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at Calvary Presbyterian in SF. We've got frogs, pestilence, cattle with blotches and blains, fire mingled with hail, flies, lice and locusts ... and all of this before intermission! Please come see us. Google "San Francisco Choral Society", go to or email me through my Blogger profile for more details.

Miette 4:03 PM  

I had to Google:

RING (world)

And I had to lookup the definitions of HEBDOMADALLY and PARAPETETIC in order to get them.

I usually am unable to detect when there is a rebus in a puzzle, so was very happy that I finally remembered "Thursday Rebus" after I googled the Aladdin song and couldn't make sense of the answer that I got. (Because I too, like @JBERG, had trouble in that corner with the exact same wrong words entered [old, mat, otd].)

Once I realized that it was a rebus puzzle, I was able to finish it with only the above-mentioned googles. This is the first time I have ever been able to figure out, let alone finish, a rebus puzzle.

@ANDREA: When I read your remark about Neil's appearance on Conan, the first thought that went through my mind was "I wonder whether Neil is the person who told James Cameron that his star placement for the morning of April 15, 2012 was off in Titanic?", then I got my answer as I continued reading your reply. :-)

@REX/MICHAEL: You must have never heard of the BLUE RIBBON SPELLING CONTEST before. They were done every year from 1st-6th grade where I went to school at.

I always received BLUE ribbons, with the exception of when I was in 5th grade. A classmate had slammed me in to the stage in gym class and broke my left wrist. (I am left-handed.) So when the contest came around, the teacher offered to let me stay in at recess and verbally spell the words to him (since I had a cast on my left arm and wasn't able to write with it (and couldn't write worth a darn right-handed). I was so excited to have that opportunity to still get my beloved blue ribbon. But because I was unable to "see" my mistakes as I spelled the words like I was able to when writing them, I received a YELLOW ribbon that year. I still to this day (41 years later) remember my acute disappointment with that yellow ribbon. That, however, did NOT help me with this clue as I was thinking A (oak) TREE!

Lewis 4:18 PM  

Good combination of difficult and fun...

Do people still eat candy apples? What a sticky mess they make!

chefwen 4:59 PM  

Thanks for the ear worm Mr. Lim, if it's not gone by tomorrow I may become UNHINGED.

Tried to squish Miami into 10A, when that wouldn't work came up with ELISE at 11D and AUGIE at 12D which just screamed out SEA WORLD to me, got WORLD BANK and I was off and running. Loved every minute of it.

Stared at the southwest for an eternity before it all came together.

Steel toe at 8D messed me up for quite a while also.

Great puzzle, other than the ear worm, thank you Julian Lim.

Mighty Nisden 5:29 PM  

Hand up for getting stuck on It's a small world ride. This was in Disneyland and after 15 minutes they turned off the music and everyone applauded.

Much easier after finding the rebus, of course, but the middle east was too hard and dnf.

Let chaos reign! I agree with Rex that asymmetric is the way to go with rebus puzzles. It is fun to find them! So chaosians unite!! But of course then there would be no chaos....

Norm 5:36 PM  

I'm confused. I thought Rex always criticized constructors when they were NOT symmetrical. Did I miss a memo? Has the world order tuned upside down? I'm not sure I can handle such dramatic changes ...

Mighty Nisden 5:38 PM  

It certainly doesn't help me that there are so many comments by the time that I weigh in. I forget something that I wanted to say. Arrrggghh. Getting old isn't all peaches and cream.

Anyway, I loved all of Larry Nivens books. One of my favorite authors while I was in college. Now I'll have to pick up RINGWORLD and read it again! Thanks J Lim!!

Lawprof 8:48 PM  

If someone should run for President on a single-plank platform -- "I'll introduce a bill to outlaw THAT DAMN SONG" -- he or she would win in a landslide.

Deetour 9:52 PM  

Thanks Rex for the Ship of Fools. A flasback to my early 20's and the alternative music era of the 80's. Is "Gene Loves Jezebel" next?
Liked this puzzle alot. Had WORLDWARI until crosses ruled it out Figured the rebus at REALWORLD.
Just trained my 8 yr old to ask his teacher if his hebdomadal writing assignment is still ineffect. Can't wait to hear her response!

Deetour 9:59 PM  

Did ya ever notice that men rarely use exclamation points and definately not in multiples. (I'm sure someone will prove me wrong)

geordiegirl 10:47 PM  

I had a different interpretation of "chorus line" and so wanted 1A to be "THE" followed at 40A by RADIOCITYROCKETTES but however hard I tried, even ROCKETS wouldn't fit. Ah well.

Anonymous 11:00 PM  

Never commented before but what in the world (pun intended) was Inc for 1 down. If you are gonna abbreviate something than show it. I kept saying it can't be Inc cuz it's not abbreviated.

Anonymous 12:10 AM  

When you file your letters of incorporation, your company is named exactly as you specify. Thus, ABC, ABC Corp, ABC Inc and ABC Incorporated can be, or are, all distinctly different entities. Then INC in the company name is specifically that.

sanfranman59 1:44 AM  

This week's relative difficulty ratings. See my 8/1/2009 post for an explanation. In a nutshell, the higher the ratio, the higher this week's median solve time is relative to the average for the corresponding day of the week.

All solvers (this week's median solve time, average for day of week, ratio, percentile, rating)

Mon 8:17, 6:50, 1.21, 98%, Challenging (4th highest median solve time of 148 Mondays)
Tue 10:12, 8:53, 1.15, 87%, Challenging
Wed 13:58, 11:49, 1.18, 88%, Challenging
Thu 18:02, 18:56, 0.95, 45%, Medium

Top 100 solvers

Mon 4:31, 3:40, 1.23, 99%, Challenging (2nd highest median solve time of 148 Mondays)
Tue 5:09, 4:35, 1.12, 85%, Challenging
Wed 7:21, 5:53, 1.25, 92%, Challenging
Thu 9:50, 9:19, 1.06, 66%, Medium-Challenging

Anonymous 11:48 AM  

One hellofa good, great puzzle thanks to J. Lim. Only one look up for hebdomadal!!!!! This is what a medium challenging puzzle should be. Absolutely no complaints from an old timer like me. Yoall can nitpick, complain, moan and groan but the fun is the challenge itself, regardless of the misdirects or possible errors in syntax. A blue ribbon to you, J.L.

Solving in Seattle 2:08 PM  

Hebdomadally made me think of the quote "Never use big words where a diminutive one will suffice."

@Miette (4:03) your story about the class spelling bee made me want to give you a hug.

@Jakarta Dan, your premonition 5 weeks ago about Lady Gaga's concert in Indonesia was a felicitous prognostication. (Ref. Hebdomadally above.)

Re: GAGA, liked it crossing with ABBESS and AWHOLENEWWORLD.

As did Rex, the SW & NE did not surrender without a battle, but the Aha! moment came with SEAWORLD and WORLDBANK. Munched through the rest like a sleeve of OREOS.

Reading today's posts made me laugh out loud so much my bi-hebdomadal housecleaner got scared and left early.

Capcha: Sietype. A pessimist.

rain forest 2:57 PM  

Loved the puzzle which I found very smooth, accessible, entertaining and just plain fun. Only hangup, briefly, was putting in "derange" before "unhinge". Yes, yellow ribbon for third.

According to Rex, rebuses should be symmetrical, or not symmetrical, or not symmetrical unless annoying. Seems clear enough to me.

A shame "weltschmertz" couldn't have been included.

Spacecraft 3:34 PM  

I see grousing over awkward phrases...but not for INPAWN. I have NEVER heard anyone use that phrase. "I pawned it," "It's in hock--" but never "in pawn." That's just awful.

So, too, was the mideast, where RAITA is not even listed as a word in my Scrabble dictionary. _RT? I had no idea. _____river? OLMAN?? Really? And then a just-plain-foreign word that doesn't even enjoy common usage in English-speaking countries, like "coup" or even "voila!" You can't expect anybody to get that section without some kind of help. Bah!

The rest of it is goodish, I guess, but that one section spoiled it for me. Shoulda been redone.

Lola505 3:39 PM  

Oooh, tricky puzzle there, Julian Lim!

I was stuck, so I stepped away, and when I returned, there, at 1A, was ... my nightmare Disney Land experience ... a forced (by my companion), four-time ride on ... It's a Small World. Kill me now!! But that turned out to be the key to solving this one, so I'll be OK.

I agree with Rex, the NE and SW were my hardest sections.

Was tempted to look up HEBDOMADALLY, but it finally fell into place with the crosses.

I like a good Thursday puzzle gimmick, so I grade this one "Thumbs Up".

rain forest 3:43 PM  

@Spacecraft, in my experience, "in pawn", and "out of pawn" are relatively common phrases. Olman is "Ol' Man", the way it was written for Showboat. And since I am a Canadian, "il pleut" is fair game. You wouldn't believe all the Americanisms, facts and trivia we Canucks have to deal with in the NYT crossword.

DMGrandma 5:09 PM  

This was a good puzzle. Lots to struggle over, but doable in the end. The SW held me up as I couldn't decide if it was MATRI or PATRI, but eventually stumbled onto MUMBO and things worked out, even though I've never heard of RINGWORLD. Also took a little time in the SE where I had the same errors everyone else did, but finally decided there had to be a rebus in there somewhere,which gave the name of the song I've never heard.
Thanks to @Diri for the astronomy heads up. Will look for the transit, but here, on the So. California coast we get a lot of fog this time of year, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.
Now to try the Capchas. They have pictures in them now, and I've paged through several looking for something I think I can decode. See you or not!

Dirigonzo 5:32 PM  

Finished with no errors, so I am now batting .500 for the week (there were no baseball references in the puz so I thought I'd throw one here so the sports fans don't go into withdrawal.

I am in total awe of this remark by @Solving in Seattle: "Re: GAGA, liked it crossing with ABBESS and AWHOLENEWWORLD." I recently wrote elsewhere that it's not Lady Gaga's outrageous dresses that upsets " religious conservatives" (of whatever faith), it's her message of love and inclusiveness that gives them fits.

Dirigonzo 5:39 PM  

Oops, meant to mention to @DMGrandma - in re the possibility of fog (we get a lot on the Maine coast, too) apparently NASA will have live web cam coverage. See @Tita's late comment on yesterday's (syndicated) puzzle.

Solving in Seattle 7:01 PM  

Speaking of Maine fog, @Diri, I spent 5 days in it with three other guys on an 84ft Alden schooner waaaay before GPS. As the navigator I used a Bendix RDF to get us from George's Shoal to Mt. Desert Island. Blind (no pun intended) luck, we hit the narrow entrance to Northeast Harbor on the nose. That was a great college summer.

Dirigonzo 7:46 PM  

@SiS - that sounds like quite an adventure. I'm strictly a "dead reckoning" sailor so there's always at least a little luck involved when my intended destination emerges out of the fog - but so far I have managed to get where I was headed (well, except for that one time, but that's a long story...)

Solving in Seattle 9:53 AM  

I'm in a three day golf tournament starting today, so I'll see you Syndies on Monday. Have a brilliant weekend.

Anonymous 4:33 PM  

Does anyone else think that proper names have no place in a crossword? To me it should be all about language, not popular culture, literary references, foreign words, and the like.

eastsacgirl 5:25 PM  

Finally got the rebus after a bit. From there on out was pretty enjoyable. Love, love AUGIE doggie. One of my fav cartoons. Gave a pat on the back for this being a challenging puzzle. I rarely finish those.

Anonymous 12:39 AM  

got the rebus early with SEA WORLD BANK, but it took quite a while to figure out the "chorus".

SW was a little tricky but overall I'd give this a medium-challenging at best.

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